Barry Adamson, Anita Lane & The Thought System Of Love – These Boots Were Made For Walking (Mute Records single, 1991)

Barry Adamsn, Anita Lane and The Thought System Of Love 'These Boots Were Made For Walking' artwork

mute records | mute119 | 1991

This version of Lee Hazlewood’s hit – made famous by Nancy Sinatra – is an absolute stone cold classic, as they may have said in the 1970s. On Terry Donovan’s 7″ mix, those immediately-recognisable descending bass notes that herald the original are here complimented by piano and a deep dub-inflected hip hop beat. Barry Adamson adds a string section and a funk guitar where the Sinatra version quickened the pace with a rather cheesy horn section. Anita Lane‘s vocal is typically excellent, archly naïve and seductive all at once, somehow colouring the sparse arrangement perfectly.

On the other remix front, Renegade Soundwave departee Karl Bonnie‘s ‘Bonnie Floats On Airwair’ mix – aided superbly by Holger Hiller with additional noises from then-Orb member and onetime Fortran 5 accomplice Kris ‘Thrash’ Weston – ratchets up the bass levels and adds some pulsating electro percussion, pushing this into heavy digital dub territory, with all the aplomb expected from the assembled trio. The mix also makes full use of some sterling slide guitar work from ex-Birthday Party man Rowland S. Howard. John Waddell adds all manner of new elements – a fragile synth melody and soulful sax – and in so doing turns the track into a blissed out groove somewhat reminiscent of The Beloved, recalling the chilled-out Balearic vibe of the time.

Adamson’s own ‘Go Johnny’ blends two strands of his distinctive style – spiralling orchestration and jazzy bop laced through with samples and abrasive noises. The track kicks off with some meditative organ lines before diving headlong into a Bernard Herrmann-esque chase theme with a beat that doesn’t know if it’s bop or rockers reggae. Both ‘Go Johnny’ and the original cover of ‘These Boots…’ feature on the celebrated Fine Line soundtrack to Delusion.

First published 2004; re-edited 2015.

(c) 2015 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

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